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Looking to buy a new or used car? If you don’t ask for these incentives, you’re missing out.
USA TODAY


Black Friday conjures up dreams of scoring flat-screen TVs, video games, jewelry and winter clothing for super-low prices.

But after the gobble gobble, think about some vroom vroom.

The day after Thanksgiving is the best day to buy a used car, according to iSeeCars.com, which found 33.1% more deals that day than on the average day. No. 2 on the list was Veterans Day (32.5%), followed by Thanksgiving (30.6%), Columbus Day (30.5%) and Martin Luther King Jr. Day (29.4%). The worst times to buy a used car are July 4 and Mother’s Day, both with about 28% fewer deals.

The website, which aggregates used-car for-sale listings, studied data from 40 million-plus used-car sales from 2013 to 2015.

“What you’re seeing is dealers and car sellers taking advantage of people out shopping,” Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com, told the Free Press. “They want to buy something. They have a glut of inventory they need to move out. A lot of used cars are being traded in. They have to move those, too. Why not take advantage?”

Dealers need space. An influx comes when cars come off lease, and those that sell new cars as well as used ones need room for cars from the new model year.

That calendar affects the used-car market, too.

“Black Friday comes at the end of the year, and there’s a huge push to get last year’s models off the lot,” said Deanna Sclar, author of “Buying a Car for Dummies.”

“If you’re looking at a used car that’s a 2012 model, when we move from 2016 to 2017, it’s technically an older model.”

Also affecting Black Friday’s star status among used-car buyers is the quota calendars dealers follow — weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. Black Friday’s trifecta is that it falls at the end of the week, at the end of the month and near the end of the year.

Sclar theorized that some of those Black Friday used-car shoppers could be parents shopping for their kids.

“Right around Thanksgiving, when the family is getting together and it’s the beginning of Christmas season, I think a lot of people who are going to give cars to their kids will be buying used cars rather than new ones,” she said. “If a daughter is in college out of town and coming home for Thanksgiving, you want to get her a used car. She’s right there.”

Used cars weren’t on people’s day-after-Thanksgiving shopping lists until recently, according to Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor of news for Kelley Blue Book. It began with new cars in the luxury segment about three to five years ago — and ads featuring cars with giant bows on them. “Holiday sales event” was the term of choice.

“Manufacturers said they’d use (the) same event and incentives, pulling them forward to Thanksgiving and tying them into Black Friday,” he said, adding that now, sometimes these advertising campaigns start Nov. 1 or right after the “Labor Day sales event” ends.

“They’re using the nomenclature to get your attention. As long as Black Friday resonated with buying public as ‘Oh, I’m going to get a good deal,’ they’ll continue. If it begins to fade, they’ll come up with different nomenclature.”

ISeeCars.com found that the vehicle with the most number of deals on Black Friday was the Hyundai Elantra, with 231% more than on the average. Rounding out the top five were the Hyundai Sonata (159%), the Ford F-150 (157%), the Volkswagen Jetta (116%) and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (115%).

Justin Lamb, 33, of Waterford, Mich., plans to hit some dealerships on Black Friday as he continues to hunt for a used sedan that has fewer than 60,000 miles on it, costs less than $12,000, gets decent mileage and can accommodate his 6-foot-3 frame. Until now, he has been going to used-car lots on weekends, though one dealership he likes is open late on Mondays and Fridays.

“I’m looking forward to Black Friday weekend, because I think there might be deals they have out they wouldn’t normally put out,” said the government contractor who currently drives a white 2005 Dodge Caravan. “Previously, I worked retail and am well aware that every industry markets as much as they can for Black Friday. I’m not naive enough to not take advantage of it. I want to finally get the car that I want.”

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